Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times, tonight issued a stark warning that the supply of reliable news reporting is dwindling despite the internet-driven worldwide information explosion.
Delivering this year’s Hugo Young memorial lecture to an audience at Chatham House in London, Keller said that the gravest danger to the future of newspapers was not political pressure, nor the “acid rain” of criticism from the blogosphere or new technology upending the business model.
“It is a loss of faith, a failure of resolve on the part of the people who make newspapers.”
Keller said bloggers, internet search engines and satirical talk shows had blossomed across the world but could never replace reporting.
At least 171 journalists and other news media staff have died as a result of their work around the world so far this year, making 2007 the bloodiest year on record for the industry.
With more than a month still to go before the end of the year, the all-time high of 168 deaths recorded in 2006 was exceeded on Tuesday when at least three editorial staff were killed in Sri Lanka during a military air strike on a radio station.